New Zealand 1Q imports fall amid sluggish economy


Weak sentiment: Pedestrians along Queen Street in Auckland. New Zealand households and companies are feeling the weight of high interest rates. — Bloomberg

WELLINGTON: New Zealand imports fell to the lowest since mid-2021 in the first quarter as a weak economy stems demand from consumers and businesses.

Imports slowed to NZ$17.9bil (US$11bil) in the three months through March, Statistics New Zealand said here yesterday.

That’s the weakest since the three months ended July 2021 and down from a peak exceeding NZ$25bil in late 2022.

Slowing demand for imports is a symptom of a sluggish economy, as both households and companies feel the weight of high interest rates.

Gross domestic product contracted in the second half of 2023 – pushing the nation into a double-dip recession – and a recent business opinion survey highlighted the risk of a hard landing in 2024.The Reserve Bank kept the Official Cash Rate at 5.5% this month, and said it needs to keep policy restrictive for a sustained period to return inflation to its 1-3% target band. Consumer prices rose 4% in the year through March.The report showed across-the-board declines in most imports with vehicles dropping 18% from the year-earlier quarter, machinery declining 12% and fuel falling 29%.Capital goods imports dived 25%, reflecting a reluctance to invest as business confidence slumped.

Imports in March plunged 25% from a year earlier, although the prior period included purchase of a jetliner and unusually high fuel shipments.

Imports in the year ended March 31 dropped 11% from a year earlier, outpacing a 4.2% drop in the value of exports. — Bloomberg

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

   

Next In Business News

Oil gains 1% on hopes of firmer demand
JPMorgan investors weigh CEO Dimon’s strategy, succession plan
Muhibbah rides on Cambodian tourism uptick
Feytech gears up for expansion to meet growing demand
Ready to rise up the ranks again
SC working overtime to combat spread of scams
Russia and Malaysia sign tax agreement
MGB ACHIEVES 23% PROFIT SURGE IN 1Q24
GDP up 4.2% in 1Q24
Chinese firms invest in ‘green’ jet fuel

Others Also Read